Wheat and Chaff [mandy]

I find myself battling with a question nearly every day recently: “How do I know if So-and-So is really saved?” Really a Christian. Really going to heaven.

The answer is obvious: I can’t. Not really. I grew up believing and, I think, still believe that once you’re saved, (i.e. once God justifies you in His eyes), then no matter what—you’re good to go [to heaven]. No sin can snatch you out of His hands, the Devil can’t drag you down to Hell, etc. So if someone is living universally for themselves, without a hint of Christ’s influence, they may still lock their fingers behind their heads, put up their feet and laugh at the days to come. They’re covered. They asked Jesus Christ to save them at such-and-such a date and at such-and-such an age.

The reason I keep asking myself this question is this: I treat Christians differently than everybody else, and vice versa. God tells us to, after all. For instance: A coworker swears. As far as I know, they are not Christians, so I do not say anything about the s-word they just jettisoned into the air. A friend swears. I know she’s a Christian, so I tell her to button her yap. See? It’s not a double standard. It’s just me fighting the good fight with someone I know who wants to fight it too.

That’s why I’ve got to know. If So-and-So’s a Christian, then I have a duty to open my mouth and say what I don’t want to: “Lovey, you should not marry an unbeliever”, “Dear, would you like to come to church? Nobody’s seen you in half a century”, etc. The words are difficult to pry out of me. I dislike admitting it, but confrontation tastes like gall to me. It’s extremely uncomfortable. And I know So-and-So is not the type of person to appreciate it. But, if So-and-So is not a Christian, I merely say, “Congratulations,” and that is that.

And then why not ask So-and-So? I feel that I see the questions bombarding this idea of mine. Well that is quite simple: I’ve asked before and then again. And again. I come to the conclusion I just don’t know if the reply is a truth or a lie.

So I leave it at that. I raise my head to God and say, “May I be absolved from sin if I treat this person as he or she should not be treated.”

I see a fragmented Christian culture I am ashamed of: Having my Heaven Cake and eating it too. But then I don’t know if it’s really a ‘Christian’ culture. I say it cannot be. So-and-So says it is. I am so thankful I don’t really have to know.

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2 thoughts on “Wheat and Chaff [mandy]

  1. I think my question (to answer yours with another) is this: is salvation the point? At the risk of sounding heretical, I’m not sure that that is God’s main focus, and I’m not sure that He sees us (or ignores us) based on our ‘spiritual status,’ so to speak.

    To put the emphasis on salvation (in my opinion) is to put the emphasis on our sin, and to say that God’s primary goal is to right wrongs, clean up what we dirtied, and so on. It is certainly so that God desires to do that (and in so doing will also be glorified), but I think God’s primary goal is relationship, is intimacy, is Love. Even His act of sending and crucifying His Son was a relational act: God cannot be in the presence of sin, but so loved the world that He broke through that wall and destroyed sin in order to restore us to intimacy: to relationship with Himself. The greatest commandment, after all, is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

    (Sorry for the gigantic comment: you started me on long train of thought with fiercely chugging wheels, but I’ll go ahead and get off here :). Good post. You gave me a LOT to think about!)

  2. Hey Jake—
    Thanks for the response! Actually, since the day you wrote this, I have been mulling over your words. You have given me much to think about, too. 🙂 Even right now, as I read over your comment again, I find it difficult to put words down. Here goes. . .
    I think our salvation IS the point. Without God’s sanctifying grace and His regenerative Spirit, we cannot truly love God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength. He even says that He is angry with the wicked every day (a psalm I can’t remember the reference to, sorry). I agree with you that God’s primary goal is relationship, but that’s impossible to get without salvation. God woos us to Himself and that may take a lifetime for some, but I think that when it comes to salvation—we’re IN or we’re OUT until we ask for it, if that makes sense.
    I think you’re right when you say that God doesn’t ignore us. No matter who we are, He does not ignore us. But He does tell Christians to treat each other in a certain way and treat non-Christians in another way.
    I feel like we’re agreeing on many points, just different vocabulary or ways to say it. 🙂 That’s all I’ll say. Again, thanks for your words and thoughts. They have given me and continue to give me much to think about!
    Mandy

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